Tags: US | Treasure | Hunter | Fugitive

Fugitive Treasure Hunter to Plead Guilty to Contempt Charge

Friday, 03 April 2015 09:33 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A fugitive treasure hunter plans to plead guilty to a contempt of court charge related to his refusal to testify in court about gold he discovered from a historic shipwreck, court documents indicate.

A plea agreement was filed in federal court Thursday in Columbus in the case of Tommy Thompson, along with a criminal information document used by prosecutors when a deal has been reached and a defendant has agreed to plead guilty.

The 62-year-old Thompson went missing three years ago amid demands he appear in court. He and his longtime female companion, Alison Antekeier, were apprehended in January at a hotel where he was living near Boca Raton, Florida.

Thompson has faced accusations of cheating investors since he discovered the S.S. America, known as the Ship of Gold, which sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with thousands of pounds of gold aboard.

Thompson and his crew brought up thousands of bars and coins, much of them later sold to a gold marketing group in 2000 for about $50 million.

The 161 investors who paid Thompson $12.7 million to find the ship never saw the proceeds. Two sued — a now-deceased investment firm president and the company that publishes The Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

The plea agreement includes terms of Thompson's cooperation with both the government and other "interested parties in connection with the matter," said Thompson's attorney Ben Dusing.

"We're looking forward to do whatever we can to get this behind us," Dusing said. "In the interest of not only Tommy, but all those involved."

The plea agreement must be accepted by the court. The next hearing in Thompson's case is scheduled for April 8, but Dusing said it may be sooner.

Antekeier was also charged with criminal contempt Thursday. Her attorney Dennis McNamara says she has agreed in a plea agreement to admit to the charge.

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Friday, 03 April 2015 09:33 AM
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